BENEO studies consumer sugar attitudes

21 Sep 2016

Functional ingredients company BENEO has announced the results of a recent consumer study showing that sugars play a key role in consumer behaviour when dealing with health concerns.

BENEO studies consumer sugar attitudes

Functional ingredients company BENEO has announced the results of a recent consumer study showing that sugars play a key role in consumer behaviour when dealing with health concerns. The results also indicate that U.S. consumers are gaining a better understanding that not all sugars are alike. The study of 1,000 U.S. consumers, commissioned by BENEO, was conducted by Ipsos.

The research was undertaken to obtain a better understanding of consumers’ perceptions of sugar, carbohydrates and the benefits of nutrition that supports a lower blood glucose response and energy management. Those surveyed indicated that along with looking for foods that are natural, clean label and nutritious without "empty calories", they also pay close attention to the levels of sugar that are contained in their food choices. Consumers prefer nutritional foods that not only sustain energy throughout the day, but also help with weight management, healthy eating and disease prevention.

Additionally, the results revealed that consumer health concerns in order of importance are weight management (38%), stress (35%), and fatigue (33%). Respondents indicated they are aware that the amount and type of sugars play a major role in coping with these health issues. In fact, 57% of the consumers polled said they try to cut their sugar intake. A healthy diet (58%), weight management (56%) as well as tooth decay and diabetes (37% and 28% respectively) were named by respondents as concrete reasons to limit sugar intake. On the other hand, respondents said they are not prepared to completely forego sugar, with taste being the number one reason at 58%. Twenty-four% said sugar provides essential energy and 20% indicated that sugar acts as a ‘mood food.’

While consumers said they have an ambivalent relationship to sugar, they indicated that there is awareness that some sugars are better for their health than others. Sugar from honey for example, was perceived as the most appealing sweetener in the U.S because it is natural. Furthermore, about two out of three respondents agreed that naturally derived sugars from fruits, vegetables and plants are healthier (64%). A similar number also said they preferred natural sugars to low calorie sweeteners (65%). Finally, 60% of the consumers polled indicated their ideal sweetener would not lead to a "sugar boost and crash effect".

"U.S. consumers are becoming increasingly aware that not all sugars are alike," said Jon Peters, President of BENEO, Inc. "The Ipsos study clearly shows that consumers are seeking balanced energy and good taste in a healthier sugar from natural sources. BENEO’s next generation sugar, Palatinose supports manufacturers who are innovating to create food and beverages that meet consumer expectations and help them manage health concerns such as weight and energy management."

Palatinose is made from beet sugar and is BENEO’s trade name for isomaltulose, which occurs naturally in honey. It is said to be an effective and healthy sugar with a mild sweet taste. Having a low effect on blood sugar levels, but being fully digestible, BENEO says it provides full carbohydrate energy in a balanced and sustained way – eliminating the undesired "boost and crash effect" generally associated with other sugars. Palatinose is claimed to be a proven contributor to better fat oxidation in energy metabolism, potentially providing longer-term benefits for body composition and weight management. Carrying an FDA health claim in the U.S. for being non-cariogenic, Palatinose is also said alleviate consumers’ issues regarding tooth decay.

BENEO says that the combination of its natural, sweet taste as well as its technological and physiological properties make Palatinose, in the truest sense, a next generation sugar that can be used in a wide array of food and beverages, ranging from sports nutrition and energy drinks to cereals and bakery, dairy, chocolate and confectionery.